Running a soccer ball can worsen cognition for up to 24 hours, study finds

Image from article titled Head of a soccer ball can worsen cognition for up to 24 hours, study finds

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A new study on footballers seems to show that repeated light blows to the head can affect athletes’ brain function, at least temporarily. He found evidence that players performed worse on simple tests of eye coordination and cognition right after directing a ball that players who just play, up to 24 hours later.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) with visible symptoms such asterm memory problems or headaches can range from severe to mild, with mild injuries often referred to as concussions. We know that the more a person experiences TBI, including concussions, the more likely they might have lasting symptoms or a higher risk of future neurological problems like Alzheimer’s disease. But research has also begin suggest that sweet repetitive Injuries that do not cause symptoms, known as subcommotional impacts on the head, can affect the health of a person’s brain.

Most of this research has focused on studying people in the real world over a long period of time, such as college students. athletes during a football season. But this new study, publicked Thursday in JAMA Ophthalmology, is a randomized controlled trial, often considered a better standard of evidence.

The trial recruited 78 healthy football players attending college, with at least five years have declared to have practiced this sport and divided them into two groups. Each group played with a spitting machine 10 bullets at about 25 miles per hour. One group kicked the balls, while the other directed them instead. After, everyone has received two widely used tests that can measure subtle visual issues related to cognition.

A test asked volunteers to quickly try to read and responddigits of several cards at the same time. The other ordeal measure the distance at which their the eyes lost focus of an object and saw double as it got closer to the middle of their face—the distance it takes see double, the more the connection is altered Between the eye and the brain is considered.

The players who directed the ball did on average worse in both tests than the kickers, the researchers found, including on tests given immediately after exercise, two hours later, and One day later. Corn lead players reported feeling no worse physically.

The results, they wrote, “generate new evidence that repetitive sub-concussion impacts on the head can impair neuro-ophthalmologic function.”

Clinical trials are useful in helping to prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between two factors, in this case, repeated mild impacts on the head and short-term cognitive problems. But there are still a lot of questions about the severity of these subtle impacts on the head. and if certain risk factors may make them worse.

Players who started the sport at a young age or who have been directing the ball a lot might be more affected by these shots, for example, but it’s not something the authors were able to test in this study.. BBecause the trial was only supposed to last one day, they also couldn’t measure how long these cognitive effects lasted.

If people can really be hurt by harmless blows to the head, however, we might need better tools to measure this damage, beyond asking people if they feel good. To that end, the authors wrote, more research should be done to determine whether these vision tests can be a “useful clinical tool for detecting acute sub-concussion injuries.”